welcome back to the Skaject folks! today we’re looking our first non-Jamaican Ska record, it’s the 1979 debut record of Madness, One Step Beyond…

One Step Beyond, the title track and a cover of a Prince Buster track that i think got missed in the records i reviewed, is a song i am familiar with prior to this listen, and a song i was extremely excited to hear again. the relentless pace of the rhythm, the smooth as butter horns, all the little vocalizations, this track is just a delight. i adore this song. My Girl’s a mellow, almost pensive kinda track. this one’s p good. Night Boat to Cairo is another high intensity, largely instrumental track that goes v hard – love this track too. Believe Me is a jazzy lil track – the hook on this song is excellent, and the rest carries quite well too. plus this track does one of my fave things, where the vocalist calls for an instrument which immediately does a sick solo. Land of Hope and Glory is a jaunty lil track but its just aight for me. The Prince is a tribute to Prince Buster, which is unsurprising given their name and the several covers they made of his work. this is also a rerelease – this track was originally recorded for 2-Tone Records before Madness took a clause in their contract that allowed them to leave, which is why this record was released with Stiff instead. the intro to Tarzan’s Nuts ain’t my fave, but the track has a great energy to it – it almost feels like its drawing on the same kinda vibe the Tetris theme is, haha. In the Middle of the Night is kinda dumb track about a perv, but damn its got a great tune to it. Bed & Breakfast Man is a strange, bright little track  definitely a nice time. Razor Blade Alley strips things down a bit, fronting the drums and piano and going light on the rest of the band. the effect is really neat – i had a good time with this track. Swan Lake is an arrangement of, well, Swan Lake, and its doing some v good work. Rockin’ In a Flat is just fine. not doing a ton for me. i feel about the same about Mummy’s Boy. nothing majorly wrong but im not huge on the lyrics for this one. Madness is a Prince Buster cover that i am familiar with, and i love this – its fun and a great nod to Buster’s version. Chipmunks Are Go! is a fun lil closer. nice bit of humor to round things out.

faves – One Step Beyond, Night Boat to Cairo, Believe Me, The Prince, Tarzan’s Nuts, Madness
dislikes –

yeah this album slapped. incredible debut record. awesome variety of tracks, ranging from more played-straight covers or mostly instrumental tracks to jauntier, more humorous tracks. the performances on this record are excellent throughout, and while the recording quality isn’t always 100% its p good and the mixes dont suffer too bad. on the whole, excellent time.

One Step Beyond… – 8/10

next up is the debut record of The Specials, The Specials!

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